Program on the Middle East

FPRI’s Program on the Middle East is dedicated to examining current developments and emerging trends in the Middle East and North Africa, and to providing thoughtful analysis in the context of U.S. strategic interests in the region. The Program brings together both established and emerging scholars from the academic, military, and policy worlds in an effort to provide policy assessments and recommendations. Through research, publication, and education, the program focuses on: 

  • The geopolitics of the Middle East
  • The Arab Uprisings
  • Radicalism and regional threats
  • Sectarian divisions
  • The Arab-Israeli conflict and peace efforts
  • Authoritarianism and reform

Map of the Middle East

In light of the Arab Uprisings and the regional upheaval that has accompanied them, the Program seeks to explore new paradigms to understand the Middle East and America’s regional policy priorities. Some guiding questions include: 

  • What are America’s strategic interests in the Middle East and why?
  • How can America best advance those interests?
  • In what ways and to what extent should America try to act as a peacemaker in the region?
  • How should America respond to the Arab Uprisings?
  • How should America deal with religious and Islamist political parties in various countries in the region?
  • What is the future of democracy in the Middle East?

The program aims to reach policymakers, academics, teachers, professionals and informed citizens through a diverse array of projects, including: 

  • Frequent publications on critical developments and trends in the Middle East through the E-Notes article series, the Footnotes bulletin for educators, E-Books onMiddle East-related issues,and Orbis,FPRI’s quarterly journal of world affairs.
  • Middle East Media Monitor, a series of essays that examines issues of importance to the American foreign policy community by reviewing events from the perspective of the foreign language press coverage. The series complements other FPRI publications by shedding light on how those same topics and issues are being covered in the region.  Call For Papers!

  • Middle East Lecture Series, which brings renowned experts to FPRI forums in New York City, Philadelphia, and Princeton to speak to professionals and engaged citizens about important subjects that bear upon American foreign policy.
  • FPRI’s Policy Briefings in Washington D.C., a series of briefings and panels hosted by FPRI in Washington, D.C. that focuses on Middle Eastern issues critical to the American foreign policy community.
  • FPRI Radio, 15 - 45 minutes podcasts, featuring discussion by FPRI scholars and leading experts on current regional events in the diplomatic, informational, military, and economic domains.
  • History Institutes for Teachers, a yearly program which provides weekend-long seminars for teachers and junior college faculty around the country to enhance their knowledge about and ability to teach the Middle East by providing historical contexts to current events. 

These program and publications have earned FPRI’s Program on the Middle East a reputation for providing quality, in-depth scholarship. One notable measure of the Program’s impact is that, just in the last few years, 90% of the Program’s publications have been republished, reviewed, cited, or assigned on the syllabi of top universities. Likewise, its programs have been widely attended, both in person and via live webcast, by hundreds of individuals from around the country and the world. In sum, the Program on the Middle East substantively contributes to:  U.S. government and military policy considerations; academic discourse at the university level; secondary school education; and the general public’s understanding of the MENA region.


Endorsements and Testimonials:

“Serving as an FPRI trustee over the past ten years has been a privilege, a pleasure, and an important part of my life and work. As a Moroccan Muslim who is committed to peace and security in the Arab region as well as a strong Arab-American partnership, I gain valuable insights from FPRI’s outstanding Middle East scholarship. I also rely on the Middle East program, ably led by Managing Director, Tally Helfont, as a sounding board for my own ideas and an ideal space to connect policymakers in North Africa with their American counterparts. I’m looking forward to years of friendship and collaboration with the group going forward.”

– Ahmed Charai, FPRI Trustee, Publisher of L'Observateur (Morocco), and President of MED Radio